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Sketch: Coorong [The spot where the murderers were captured]

Overall: 216 x 73 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin photographic print on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00008251

User Terms

    This coastal area is located in South Australia near Encounter Bay and became known primarily as a whaling area and the location where Captain Collet Barker was killed by members of the Ngarrindjeri community.
    SignificanceThis sketch is significant in its recollection of a time in Australia’s history when coastal exploration and industry were still in its early days. Relations with the local indigenous populations were still tenuous and at times had been aggresive in this area between whalers, sealers and the Ngarrindjeri people of the Coorong.
    HistoryCaptain Collet Barker was originally appointed commandant of the settlement at Fort Wellington on Raffles Bay Northern Territory after his arrival in Australia in July 1828. The fledging settlement faced a myriad of problems from the outset and despite many improvements bought by Barker; in particular the reconciliation with the local indigenous population, Fort Wellington was abandoned in 1829. After a brief position at King Georges Sound, Barker was ordered to return to Sydney in 1831 on board the ship ISABELLA. On his journey his instructions were to determine the coastal outlet of the River Murray in the area of Encounter Bay, South Australia. From accounts of people who were there, on April 30 the exploring party arrived at the Murray River outlet, most likely that depicted in the sketch, and Barker crossed it alone. The account tells that Baker "fastened his compass on his head for him, he plunged into the water, and with difficulty gained the opposite side; to effect which took him nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds. His anxious comrades saw him ascend the hillock and take several bearings; he then descended the farther side, and was never seen by them again. “(South Australian Register, 30 April 1885).
    It was later discovered through interpreters that Barker had been attacked and killed by three Ngarrindjeri in probable retaliation for the harsh treatment inflicted upon them by the whalers and sealers who had been frequenting the area since 1810.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Sketch: Coorong [The spot where the murderers were captured]

    Collection title: Tilbrook collection

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